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RE: [Synoptic-L] Salt and forgiveness for forgiveness in Mark

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  • Gentile, David
    I hope you ll forgive me for saying that your thesis seesm to me to be entirely forced. Not only have you gone looking for evidence that supports a conclusion
    Message 1 of 11 , Feb 13 10:49 AM
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      I hope you'll forgive me for saying that your thesis seesm to me to be
      entirely forced. Not only have you gone looking for evidence that
      supports a conclusion that you have, so far as I can tell, deemed in
      advance as true, but you've constructed the syllogism that you use to
      prove your conclusion -- i.e., salt is an element added to sacrifices,
      sacrifice is tantamount to right living, the essential element of
      "right living" is forgiveness", therefore "salt" = forgiveness -- from
      texts that have nothing to do with one another. More importantly, and
      leaving aside whether there's anything in Roman's 12 which substantiates
      the third premise above, you assume in your first premise what needs to
      be proven, namely, that the only thing that salt connoted in first
      century Judaism was something that makes sacrifices acceptable to god.

      May I suggest that before you pursue this thesis any further, you check
      out not only some standard lexicons to see whether this is the only
      meaning hALAS" had, but also some good commentaries on Mark to see what
      has been said about the meaning and possibly proverbial nature of Mark's
      salt sayings?.

      Yours,

      Jeffrey Gibson



      Jeffrey: I hope you'll forgive me...

      Dave: O.K. You're forgiven. (Now go and do likewise)

      :o)

      Jeffrey: from texts that have nothing to do with one another.

      Dave: I'd say they all could have informed the early Christian
      community, or be seen as indicators of how the early Christian community
      viewed metaphorical hALAS.

      Jeffrey: you have, so far as I can tell, deemed in advance as true

      Dave: I don't think I decided in advance that anything was true. The
      idea would never have occurred to me if it was not suggested to me by
      what I read. Nor do I know it to be true. It is just an idea for
      discussion.

      Jeffery: May I suggest that before you pursue this thesis any further,
      you check out not only some standard lexicons to see whether this is the
      only meaning hALAS" had, but also some good commentaries on Mark to see
      what has been said about the meaning and possibly proverbial nature of
      Mark's salt sayings?.

      Dave: I do plan to do some more research, so thanks for the suggestion.
      But I was interested to see what others thought of the idea at this
      stage. The only other idea I've come across for what metaphorical salt
      means, relates to "a covenant" of salt, and as Tim suggests, salt may
      not be so much something that an individual possesses, as something that
      a group possess.

      But going back to my idea here -

      Jeffrey: sacrifice is tantamount to right living

      Dave: Mmm...no. That's not quite it. Paul says we should make ourselves
      *into* the sacrifice. Not that we should make sacrifices, but
      metaphorically, we are the sacrifice. The analogy then is salt must be
      in sacrifices to make them acceptable to God, so metaphorical salt must
      be in us to make us acceptable to God. Also, if we assume Mark refers to
      something like a purgatory with GEHENNA, then "Everyone will be salted
      by fire" is "Everyone will be made acceptable to God by fire"
      Metaphorical salt makes us a metaphorical sacrifice acceptable to God.

      Paul then goes on to say lots of things that we should do or be, all of
      which could be seen as part of "making ourselves into metaphorical
      sacrifices". For example, in Romans 12:10 he says to the church
      community that they should have deep affection for each other. That
      could support the "salt covenant". But then in 12:18 he says "don't pay
      back evil with evil" and in 12:19 he says "never try to get revenge".
      That could support salt as "forgiveness".

      He also says we should also "be humble", "charitable", "merciful",
      "loving", "avoid evil", "pray regularly", "hospitable", "love our
      enemies", "don't rely on our own wisdom". From that I don't think we can
      get much more that being a sacrifice means "having good stuff" in you.
      Or maybe we could say "being selfless".

      Mark has "Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another".
      Salt could be anything that allows peaceful living. It could refer to a
      "covenant of salt" in the group. It could be forgiveness for others. It
      could be "being humble" or "being loving" or "being selfless".

      So why focus on "forgiveness" specifically? The hermeneutical key I'm
      using is Mark 11:22-25. It looks to me that there is deliberate effort
      there to somewhat obscure a "forgiveness for forgiveness" message. Then
      looking through Mark, I see other examples of places where later authors
      have altered Mark in ways that could be viewed as motivated by trying to
      hide a message of "forgiveness for forgiveness". These include salt, the
      little children, and the measure parable.

      For the measure parable just read Mark and Luke together - Luke 6:36-38
      "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will
      not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will
      be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and
      running over, will be poured into your lap." Mark 4:24-25 (New
      Jerusalem). The standard you use will be used for you - and you will
      receive more besides; anyone who has, will be given more; anyone who has
      not, will be deprived even of what he has."

      Look at Luke's first three sentences. The first two are "Do not and you
      will not" but "forgive" is stated in the positive. So when it says
      "anyone who has will be given more" this certainly seems to be
      "forgiveness". "Anyone who has not will be deprived even of what he has"
      then is "He who does not forgive, will lose God's forgiveness".

      So, the measure parable says to be forgiven by God we must forgive. Mark
      11 says that too. "Salt" could also be how we avoid purgatory in Mark 9.


      To say it differently, from the argument above, "salt" is something good
      inside, an internal property, it allows good group relations. Then
      "salt" in Mark also could be about avoiding purgatory. Where in Mark can
      we find something that could be both about "avoiding purgatory" and fit
      with the "selfless" idea of salt? My answer is in Mark 11 where he talks
      about "forgiveness for forgiveness".

      So what I'm seeing in Mark is this -

      "Forgive so that God can forgive you" Mark 11

      "Forgive as you would forgive little children to welcome the Kingdom"

      "If you do not have forgiveness, your forgiveness will be taken." (the
      measure)

      :"If you don't want to be salted (made acceptable to God) with fire have
      salt (forgiveness of others) within you."

      Dave Gentile

      Riverside, IL















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Dave
      Thanks for that refference. Both purification by fire and destruction by fire sound like valid possible translations to me. In the context of Mark 9
      Message 2 of 11 , Feb 13 11:10 AM
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        Thanks for that refference.

        Both "purification by fire" and "destruction by fire" sound like
        valid possible translations to me.

        In the context of Mark 9 however, salt seems to be something good.
        Mark says "have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one
        another". "Have destruction in yourself" does not work.

        Dave Gentile
        Riverside, IL


        --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, R. Steven Notley <Notley@...> wrote:
        >
        > For the readers on this list, I would recommend an article by
        Weston
        > Fields, executive director the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation and a
        member
        > of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research. The short article
        is now
        > posted on JerusalemPerspective.com. The URL is:
        > http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/Default.aspx?
        > tabid=27&ArticleID=1454.
        >
        > In his study, Fields examines the phrase in Mark 9:49 looking at
        a
        > possible Hebraic or Aramaic idiom behind our Greek. He concludes
        that
        > the verse should be translated:
        >
        > "Everyone [who is sent to hell] will be completely destroyed" -
        that
        > is, destroyed by fire.
        >
        > shalom
        > R. Steven Notley
        > Professor of Biblical Studies
        > Nyack College NYC
      • Chuck Jones
        Dave, Salt was used to preserve meat (primarily fish) and so have saving power. But if it was inadvertently spilled on soil it burned and poisoned it and so
        Message 3 of 11 , Feb 13 12:21 PM
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          Dave,

          Salt was used to preserve meat (primarily fish) and so have "saving" power. But if it was inadvertently spilled on soil it burned and poisoned it and so was also destructive in the wrong setting.

          Chuck Jones

          Dave wrote:
          Thanks for that refference.

          Both "purification by fire" and "destruction by fire" sound like
          valid possible translations to me.

          In the context of Mark 9 however, salt seems to be something good.
          Mark says "have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one
          another". "Have destruction in yourself" does not work.

          Dave Gentile
          Riverside, IL

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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • R. Steven Notley
          David I would read Mark 9:49 as the concluding statement regarding the judgment introduced in Mark 9:42-48. The mention of salt triggered Mark s appending
          Message 4 of 11 , Feb 13 12:50 PM
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            David

            I would read Mark 9:49 as the concluding statement regarding the
            judgment introduced in Mark 9:42-48. The mention of "salt" triggered
            Mark's appending of Mark 9:50 (where salt does have a positive notion).

            Steven Notley
            Nyack College NYC


            On Feb 13, 2006, at 2:10 PM, Dave wrote:

            > Thanks for that refference.
            >
            > Both "purification by fire" and "destruction by fire" sound like
            > valid possible translations to me.
            >
            > In the context of Mark 9 however, salt seems to be something good.
            > Mark says "have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one
            > another". "Have destruction in yourself" does not work.
            >
            > Dave Gentile
            > Riverside, IL
            >
            >
            > --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, R. Steven Notley <Notley@...> wrote:
            > >
            > > For the readers on this list, I would recommend an article by
            > Weston 
            > > Fields, executive director the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation and a
            > member 
            > > of the Jerusalem School of Synoptic Research.  The short article
            > is now 
            > > posted on JerusalemPerspective.com.  The URL is:
            > > http://www.jerusalemperspective.com/Default.aspx?
            > > tabid=27&ArticleID=1454.
            > >
            > > In his study, Fields examines the  phrase in Mark 9:49 looking at
            > a 
            > > possible Hebraic or Aramaic idiom behind our Greek.  He concludes
            > that 
            > > the verse should be translated:
            > >
            > > "Everyone [who is sent to hell] will be completely destroyed" -
            > that 
            > > is, destroyed by fire.
            > >
            > > shalom
            > > R. Steven Notley
            > > Professor of Biblical Studies
            > > Nyack College NYC
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
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            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Dave
            ... have saving power. But if it was inadvertently spilled on soil it burned and poisoned it and so was also destructive in the wrong setting. ... Again, I
            Message 5 of 11 , Feb 13 1:02 PM
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              --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, Chuck Jones <chuckjonez@...> wrote:
              >
              > Dave,
              >
              > Salt was used to preserve meat (primarily fish) and so
              have "saving" power. But if it was inadvertently spilled on soil it
              burned and poisoned it and so was also destructive in the wrong
              setting.
              >
              > Chuck Jones
              >

              Again, I suppose it could be either.

              We could read Mark -

              "If you don't want to be destroyed by fire, make yourself an
              acceptable sacrifice to God"

              or

              "If you don't want to be made acceptable to God by fire, make
              yourself into an acceptable sacrifice to God"

              The latter is more symetrical, however.

              Chuck: spilled on soil it burned and poisoned it and so was also
              destructive in the wrong setting.

              Dave: But in Matthew 5 salt of the earth is a good thing. He is not
              telling his followers they are the destruction of the earth. (I hope)

              "Acceptable to God" works with all NT refferences to salt, with
              Leviticus, and with Paul's metephor of the follower as a sacrifice.
              I can't think of anything else that works in all places like that.

              I suppose it could shift meaning to be "destruction" in that one
              spot, but that seems less likely to me.

              Dave Gentile
              Riverside, IL
            • Dave
              That is what is often suggested here. Mark just threw random salt sayings together. But if we can make a unified whole of it, isn t that a better reading?
              Message 6 of 11 , Feb 13 1:15 PM
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                That is what is often suggested here. Mark just threw random salt
                sayings together.

                But if we can make a unified whole of it, isn't that a better
                reading?

                Assume Mark's idea of salvation is "faith in God, and forgiveness
                for forgiveness" (Mark 11) then read Mark 9

                Millstone/cutting off body parts - cut of from the church those that
                would cause loss of faith, they will sent you to GEHENNA.

                GEHENNA/salted by fire - you don't want to be made acceptable to God
                with fire.

                "If salt loses...how can it be made salty" - Look at those Pharisees
                that have lost their salt, they are all judgement and no
                forgiveness, don't be like them.

                "have salt, and be at peace" - Have acceptableness to God in you,
                have forgiveness of others in you, so you can be at peace with
                others.

                Reading it with Mark 11 in mind as a plan of salvaition, makes it a
                unified whole.


                --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, R. Steven Notley <Notley@...> wrote:
                >
                > David
                >
                > I would read Mark 9:49 as the concluding statement regarding the
                > judgment introduced in Mark 9:42-48. The mention of "salt"
                triggered
                > Mark's appending of Mark 9:50 (where salt does have a positive
                notion).
                >
                > Steven Notley
                > Nyack College NYC
                >
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